This year the LA Auto Show has updated its name to AutoMobility LA, and as you’d expect from the traditionally tech-intensive venue, plug-in cars are in attendance.
Regulations are driving the global market, some carmakers have made huge forward-looking statements about product assortments to be as high as 25 percent plug-in by 2025, and this year’s LA show is just a taste of more to come.
Following are highlights of mostly new models – be they concepts, or models planned, or pre-production examples with new details disclosed.
Mitsubishi eX Concept
Granted, and the now-updated eX Concept has actually been shown before, but its maker says it “hints to the future,” and that future is much brighter now that Nissan has made Mitsubishi a member of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
The eX Concept meanwhile dazzles with avante garde technology including artificial intelligence, and an advertised cruising range of “248 miles.”
The vehicle is rated for 94 horsepower (70 kW) to both front and rear wheels for a total output of 188 horsepower (140 kW) of power is otherwise a good portent.
Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
Is a large Mini an oxymoron? Not if you are BMW’s English brand of cute rolling lifestyle statements, and given Americans’ desires for bigger vehicles, the Countryman is its biggest ute to date.
Boasting increased dimensions throughout, and 30-perent more cargo space from the second-generation vehicle, it also has the distinction of being Mini’s first plug-in hybrid.
A 1.5-liter turbo thee-cylinder engine is merged with electric propulsion, a 7.6-kWh battery, and a six-speed auto transmission.
The gasoline engine powers the front wheels, and the electric motor serves the rear wheels. Propulsion energy for the “through the road” all-wheel-drive capability totals to 221 horses and 284 pounds-feet of twisting force – torque.
A top speed of 137 mph sees 0-60 mph along the way at 6.8 seconds.
Yes, but how far can it go in all-electric mode, you may ask? Oh, about 24 miles at up to 77 mph* – with asterisk attached. That estimate is believed to be from Europe where miles (or kilometers) are shorter – or, more accurately, where test procedures are easier going, and thus produce higher range calculations.
Figure maybe 17-20 miles in the U.S.? We shall see.
Jaguar I-Pace All-Electric Crossover SUV
Now here’s an SUV to be taken a bit more seriously – by you, by us, and even by Tesla.
The all-electric I-Pace is a complete rethinking of what a Jaguar-Land Rover SUV can be, and it boasts a substantial 90-kWh battery for 220 miles range.
Jaguar promises to focus on performance from the all-wheel drive vehicle propelled by dual electric motors – one on each axle – with combined output of 400 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
As such, 0-60 mph is estimated in four seconds, along with fetching good looks.
Sans problematic “falcon wing” doors, the vehicle with English pedigree is said to closely resemble what consumers will see in the brand’s first all-electric crossover.
Jaguar says a 50 kW DC fast charger can zap the I-Pace Concept to fully charged in two hours.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Not a new debut, Hyundai has however quietly upped the pre-production EV’s range to 124 miles instead of 110 previously announced, and this one goes on sale late this year.
First consumers to get it will be in Oklahoma – just kidding! Make that California, the Mecca of the electric car universe, where some regions buy from 5 to almost 10 percent plug-in market share – compare that to 0.8 percent nationwide.
Meaningful stats include a 28-kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery pack, 118 horsepower and 217 pounds-feet of torque for a top speed of 102 mph.
Inside – as true of the Ioniq Hybrid also being launched, and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid due next year – is contemporary styling and amenities.
Included is a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless charging for a cellphone. A whole suite of safety systems, including autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist will all be available.
Hyundai plans to make the Ioniq Electric available in all 50 states, though not all dealers are expected to stock it. Any dealer may take an order – a progressive policy by Hyundai – thus Midwesterners, and all others can get it not long after those in the Sunshine state.
Cadillac CT6 PHEV
Also not a first-time showing, the news this year for the flaghship rear-wheel-drive power plug-in hybrid centers around range, price, and availability.
As a beneficiary of technology developed for the Chevy Volt and other electrified vehicles, the CT6 promises a decent 30-miles EV range, goes on sale early next year, and stickers for $76,090 before a $7,500 federal tax credit and potential state incentives.
Two motors propel the new rear-wheel drive electric variable transmission (EVT), which takes power also from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine.
Total output us estimated at 335 horsepower and 432 pounds-feet of torque.
Acceleration is an estimated 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Aside from what’s under the hood, the vehicle comes with the latest in GM’s upscale brand design, resplendent with features and technology and comfort.
It also happens to be targeted for the Chinese market, was first unveiled in Shanghai last year, and is one of the first GM cars being exported back to the U.S.
The non-plug-in CT6 is actually built at the same plant that produces the Chevy Volt – Detroit Hamtramck – and GM is otherwise catering first to the Chinese market with this.
Of course, if one wants another alternative, and one made in GM’s actual home country, one may always opt for a Tesla Model S.
Those start $10,000 less, and are pure electric, but the new Caddy hopes its balance of attributes will win some new fans.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
You can call it a useful and large vehicle, you can call it a hybrid, you can call it energy efficient and a first of its type, but just don’t call it a plug-in hybrid.
Actually, despite the name “Pacifica Hybrid,” that is exactly what the 30-mile-range plug-in hybrid pending U.S. sale is.
Not meant to compromise what conventional siblings in the Pacifica family line offer, the vehicle boasts a powerful hybrid 3.6-liter powertrain. Doing them one better, it merges electric power and a 16-kWh battery under the middle row seats, for an estimated 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in city driving.
This vehicle also is not being shown for the first time, but deserves mention because it is groundbreaking, due soon, and the price has just been announced.
Its $43,090 starting price is a significant jump above the base conventional Pacifica LX’s $29,590 and thus it’s not the cheapest way to transport families of seven hungry mouths to feed, but its subsidized price is otherwise in line.
The base Pacifica Hybrid Premium, and $46,090 Pacifica Hybrid Platinum specs are roughly comparable to the Pacifica Touring-L and Touring L Plus trim which sell in the mid to upper 30s.
Factoring a $7,500 federal credit, the front-wheel-drive Pacifica Hybrid is thus priced closely on a bottom line basis. What’s more, if buyers qualify for state incentives, they might even drive one home for below the net outlay of conventional nicely equipped stablemates which are already on sale.
And regardless whether the vehicle sells super well, or not, it is important in opening up the plug-in minivan segment.
Plug-in fans have long lamented the lack of larger vehicles, including mainstream priced SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans – and now at last that latter type is represented by the Pacifica Hybrid.